The Rorschach test is an example of psychological projection tests, during which 10 spots, 5 white items and 55 black items, are printed on cards. This test was introduced in 1921, with the publication of psychological diagnosis manual by Herman Rorschach. In the 1940s and 1950s, this experiment was synonymous with clinical psychology. For a significant part of the 20th century, the Rorschach test was widely cited and interpreted as a psychological test. In a survey conducted in 1947 (Lottit and Brown) and 1961 (Sandberg), it was ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, among the most well-known and widely used psychological tests.
Despite its widespread use, the Rorschach test has been the source of much controversy. It is difficult for researchers to study and review the results in a systematic way. The existence of different types of scoring systems for the answers for each type of stain will lead to confusion.
History of the Rorschach test
Hermann Rorschach never specified where he got the idea for the test. Of course, like most children of his time, he played the popular game of Bluto. In this game, poetry or crossword puzzles were done with spots. At that time, black seeds were easily purchased from stores. It is also believed that a close friend or teacher named Konrad Gehring popularized the use of black dots as a psychological tool.
When Eugene Bleuler introduced the term schizophrenia in 1911, Rorschach became interested in the subject and wrote his article on mental hallucinations (Bleuler was at the helm). Working with schizophrenic patients, Rorschach unexpectedly discovered that they reacted to the game of Bluto quite differently than others. He shared a brief report of his findings at a local psychological forum. But at that time, no additional explanation was provided. When he pursued psychiatry seriously at Krumbach Hospital in Russia in 1917, he became interested in the systematic study of the game of Bluto.
Rorschach used 40 marked pages in his early studies between 1918 and 1921. He regularly used 15 items on patients. Finally, he obtained data from 405 patients (117 non-patients in the control group). His scoring method reduces the importance of the content. On the contrary, his focus is on how to categorize responses based on different characteristics. For this purpose, he used a series of codes which are now called points. In this way, it was determined whether people were talking about the whole (w), or whether they were following large (D) or small details. F was used to score the point type, and C was used to score the answer type.
In 1919 and 1920, he was looking for a publisher for his works. His 15-card system was used permanently. Of course, one reason for 15 cards was the printing costs. Finally, in 1921, he found a publisher, Birscher Press, who was willing to print his spot cards. Of course, 10 items were printed. Rorschach revised his research and replaced 10 cards with 15 (introduced on Wikipedia, other Wikipedia pages contain major errors).
Of course, the printing house didn’t quite stick to the original stained cards. The original Rorschach images had no shadows and were all printed in full color. The duplicates contained additional shadows. Rorschach was reportedly pleased with the addition of this feature. After publishing a monograph containing stained cards, and introducing the state interpretation test, he died in 1922 after being hospitalized for abdominal pain. Rorschach was only 37 years old and had been working on his spot test for 4 years.
Rorschach test scoring systems
Before the 1960s, there were five dominant scoring systems by which subjects answered Rorschach test questions. The two systems of Beck and Klopfer played a dominant role in this field. The three methods of Hertz, Piotrowski and Rappaport-Shafer were used less. In 1969, John Exner Jr. made the first comparison of Rorschach systems.
Exner’s deconstructive analysis findings confirmed that Rorschach scoring systems are not limited to 5 items. He realized that these 5 systems are significantly different from each other. 5 different and unique Rorschach tests were defined. Now was the time to revise the principles.
Due to Exner’s unexpected results, he decided to consider a new, comprehensive Rorschach scoring system that incorporated the best components of the current 5 system. In addition, significant experimental researches are conducted for each component. A foundation was established in 1968 and many researches were started. Thus, the goal was to create a new scoring system for the Rorschach. As a result, in 1973, Exner introduced the first edition of the Rorschach—a comprehensive system. According to him, this new system was the new gold standard in this field (the only scoring system currently being taught).
What does the Rorschach test measure?
The Rorschach blot test was not originally designed as a projective index for personality assessment. Rather, the goal was to determine a profile of people with schizophrenia (and other mental disorders), based on the frequency of scores. Rorschach himself doubted whether this test is effective as a projective index or not.
At the most basic level, the Rorschach test was a problem-solving process that provided a picture of the mental condition of the test taker. It also increased the level of awareness of the person’s past and future behavior. Concepts are usually embedded in the framework of the answer. Of course, in principle, not much attention is paid to the level of imagination or creativity.
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